On the eve of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, Australian Tour De France winner Cadel Evans and Swisse Wellness Managing Director Oliver Horn announced Australia and New Zealand’s first Ride to Work Scheme where all Swisse employees will be entitled to a $2,000/pa loan to purchase cycling equipment to ride to and from work.
Over 12 months, employees repay this amount from their pre-tax salary, accessing savings of up to approximately 32% (dependent on individual’s tax rate) on their investment. The scheme operates on the same principle as salary packaging a car. Currently, the scheme in Australia is not tax-exempt, meaning Swisse will pay the Fringe Benefit Tax on behalf of the employees $2,000 investment.
Swisse Wellness Managing Director, Oliver Horn says “Working in the UK for many years, I was a keen participant of the UK Cycle to Work scheme. Over the last seven years in Australia, I have commuted every day to and from work using the very bike I purchased through the UK scheme. I have experienced first-hand the health benefits of this fantastic daily ritual. It positively impacts my mental and physical health, I am fitter and faster into work, and it’s great for the environment.”
Cadel Evans added, “I’m passionate about this [ride to work scheme]. I’m known for racing the Tour de France, Olympic games, World Championships at the elite level. But my cycling started by riding to school when I was young. For health reasons, for practicality reasons, for being independent…that’s really where my cycling started and that’s stayed in my mind. Now I don’t race anymore but I still ride passionately for fitness but also for commuting. I’m based still in Europe and see this other side of the world where bicycles are used so much more where it’s a slightly better infrastructure but most of all it’s the mentality of the drivers, the storage in work offices, that make cycling so much common and popular – especially in terms of commuting in Europe than Australia. We need something in Australia to turn this around.”
From the most recent Australian Census, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports almost 7 million people drive to work every day, and only 450,000 people either cycle or walk. This scheme seeks to reduce this divide; helping to resolve congestion, improve health outcomes and positively impact the environment. Swisse aspires to foster a stronger cycling culture in Australia, whereby there is stronger rider driver safety awareness. For every car driver that becomes a new cyclist, that driver becomes more cycle aware.
Ride to Work Schemes have witnessed great success around the globe, with leading UK scheme provider CycleScheme, today attracting almost 800,000 participants. UK scheme findings report:
A 91% increase in journeys on bikes over the last decade
More than 50% taking up the scheme being new to cycling
76% users say they would not have bought a bike had the scheme not existed, and
87% participants report a noticed improvement in their health after starting to ride to work.
Oliver Horn is keen to get other businesses on board so everyone benefits. He said, “The success overseas is evident and Swisse is committed to championing this scheme to become a national initiative in Australia. We are excited to work in partnership with like-minded industry stakeholders to drive and scale this scheme nationally and the Australian Government to help create further opportunities that incentivise and support all Australian businesses to readily adopt a national Ride to Work Scheme.
Swisse will be on the road with Cadel Evans and other enthusiasts supporting the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Swisse People’s Ride this weekend. In 2019, they are expecting over 3,500 participants for the Swisse People’s Ride, demonstrating the growing enthusiasm for cycling in Australia.
For further information or for Australian businesses to show interest in implementing the National Ride to Work Scheme, please visit www.swisse.com/ridetowork